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Good stuff! Appreciate the examples you gave .. I will study them carefully.
I use first and third positions more than I use second position.. so should be able to relate to Jimmy Reed.
Listened to an Al Blake interview.. and he really believes in studying Little Walter & his predecessor Sonny Boy Williamson.
I know my way around the harp.. I just need to work on my foundation.
Whatever you call it works for me. Thanks, Reed.
I guess I am using old terminology. Usually the root of the first chord played is the key of
the tune, but not always, it could be the fourth, fifth, etc. I am referring to the chord played and
my use of notes against it in an ensemble, it is a reference point and not a rule. Sometimes you
get it from a note, sometimes from the chord, but I want to know where it lies in the structure.
I came up playing with black bands, sometimes I was the only white guy, I realize that my words
aren't always the best but it's how I learnt it.
"Breathe The Harmonica"
That is a better one, Tootler. Multi-track recording does really make you consider timing and a lot of other little things you miss playing live. I find it's really helpful once you've got the tune down too. Glad you posted an update!
Chord figure? That's a term I haven't heard before. Can you elaborate on that?
Arpeggios are good ways to find your way around unfamiliar tunes. Another trick that came to
almost serendipitously was to listen for the chord figure before you begin to play. I listened to
Little Walter a lot coming up, and he would come in behind the beat, I thought it was a groove
thing because to do it does fatten the groove, so I incorporated it into my phrasing. Years later I
played with a country/rock singer who never used a set list so the most I might know before we
started a tune was the key. I began to listen for the chord figure before I played and it put me
right in there with the fiddle player, a lady later complimented me and the fiddle player saying
how she had never heard harmonica and fiddle played together like that and how cool it was.
It was the first night we had met each other! It was afterward when I thought about it that I realized
this is what Little Walter was doing all along.
If your guitarist is into it, maybe try some Jimmy Reed stuff, yeah Jimmy plays a lot of first position
but that should be no problem to learn if you have your bends down, specifically draw two, draw three,
blow bends eight, nine and ten. Jimmy's stuff is very straight forward but offers a whole lot of room for
stretching out. And remember, just because it is played in first position doesn't mean that second won't
work on some stuff. Another guy who does some very accessible acoustic type blues is "Big Al Blake"
This cat blows some serious harp using expression over pyrotechnics, very cool stuff, and some of it
can be done in a duo context. John Hammond junior does some real nice acoustic blues. Listen, listen,
listen, get it in your head. You are supposed to listen twice as hard as you play, that is why God gave you
two ears, but only one mouth.
"Breathe The Harmonica"
Awesome.. that is the kind of feedback i need! I will try that. Thanks!
I dunno, it sounds like two different songs played together. Playing over vocals has always
been a no no, playing between vocal phrases is the way to go. When playing along with a
guitar, try to hit target notes that correspond to the chord being played. For instance on the 1
or tonic, play the tonic note, it will sound better, more together. The goal is to sound like one
voice, one instrument, making this music. Ask your guitarist what chords are used, find the
target notes and WRITE THEM DOWN, writing them down will engrain this into your memory,
you'll feel like you have taken a giant step forward.
"Breathe The Harmonica"
My first open mic with a guitarist friend of mine. No Steve Vai yet.
Sound setup wasn't the best, and I know I need to work on my technique.. but was looking forward to doing this for a long time.
Here is how it came out at the open mic:
I've re-recorded Beer Barrel Pollka for the Ukulele Underground Forum. I doubled the melody with a tenor recorder and added an accompaniment on Ukulele. I tried adding accompaniment to my earlier recording but found my timing was all over the place so I redid it using a midi track as a guide track to get the tempo and timing right. The little puppet in the video is a jig doll. They were once common and used by street entertainers.
There is quite a bit about cleaning chromatics on Slidemeister, some of it is really useful.
I've just replaced the mouthpiece on my "Standard" Seydel Chromatic De Luxe with one from the Steel version of the De Luxe. I am pleasantly surprised how much easier I find it to play and, in particular how much easier to find the notes. I resisted sending for one as it seemed quite pricey but it has actually been worth the money for me.